Friday, July 22, 2011

Fish & Wine - Tallinn, Estonia

While we were in Tallinn, Estonia, we were in a downpour. We tried to go in St. Nicholas Church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, the patron of fishermen and sailors, built in the 13th century, but it was closed. So we walked down a path and saw Fish & Wine, a promising looking restaurant that looked like a great place to spend some time while the rain hopefully depleted itself. 
We were led to a second story room with a window looking out at St. Nicholas and enjoyed the nice comfort of the restaurant while the rain continued to pound down. 
For a starter, we were brought some wonderful heavy bread and oil and vinegar to dip it into. 
Judy ordered dorado, 
described as a Mediterranean white fish, with mashed potatoes, fennel, tapenade (olive oil, olives and capers) and dill cream. 
Dorado is another name for mahi-mahi, a fish found in warm waters. 
The dorado was good and the mashed potatoes had some vinegar mixed, but were still a little bland. We don't see fennel on menus much in the U.S.. I didn't taste Judy's fennel, but I really love it and assume it was good. It was a nice presentation and a nice lunch. I ordered a dish called "Selection of fish" 
which included "graved pike-perch," smoked salmon, smoked Baltic herring, salad, dill cream and bread. I've looked up "pike-perch" since and one dictionary says it is a fish related to the perch and resembling a pike, such as a walleye. Another says it is various pikelike freshwater "teleost" fishes, such as perches. Graved is another matter. The dictionary says it is death or extinction or a place for interment of a corpse. The fish was dead, but I don't think that's what the menu was referring to. Gravid means full of eggs, however, I don't think the fish had any eggs, at least none were on Judy's plate, so I don't think that's what was intended. I guess what "graved" fish is will remain a mystery. 
The pike-perch was good, the smoked salmon was smoked salmon, 
something I probably ate in every country we visited, with some variations, and the smoked herring was different, a little dry, and probably my least favorite herring of the trip. 
The most fun item was oven-baked Camembert cheese, 
served with fig jam and toasted ciabatta. It was a wonderful presentation. A whole Camembert cheese was in a small bowl and the cheese had a garlic cove stuck in the miiddle, some sort of leafy stems on top and a green sauce, perhaps pesto, on top. 
I did enjoy the Camembert, although it was milder than the Camembert I had recently. The presentation couldn't be beat. 
Our timing was great. The rain had subsided by the time we left, we enjoyed our meal and we went on to spend more enjoyable time in Tallinn. Although not cheap by our standards, the lunch was reasonable compared to prices in Denmark, Norway and other Baltic countries. 

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